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Savers: Are better yields ahead?

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"There's so much fiscal and monetary stimulus in the pipeline that we're probably going to see rising indications of economic recovery, but also much higher inflation. If unemployment continues to creep higher and if higher food and energy costs continue to be chronic, that's going to be a big headwind going forward," says Larkin.

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"In my standard fixed-income portfolio I have a 5 percent weighting in Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, (namely) iShares Lehman TIPS bond (TIP), and I have a 5 percent weighting in SPDR DB International Government Inflation-Protected Bond (WIP). We feel you need to be balanced and have both global and domestic."

Larkin also advises fixed-income investors to take a little bit of risk to compensate for the squeeze on the short end of the yield curve by using two mutual funds, Eaton Vance Floating Rate Fund (EABLX), current net asset value of $8.96, and PIMCO Developing Local Markets (PLMDX), current NAV $10.92.

"We decided to take a baby step into the high-risk segment in two ways. One is bank loans; it's a recovery story and it's also an inflation hedge because they're bank loans that fluctuate off a variable rate like LIBOR. Eaton Vance is one of the best firms at managing this, so I'm leveraging off their expertise. I'm also buying the mutual fund because it's liquid; if it fell more than 2.5 percent, I'd get out of it.

"Eaton Vance takes care of me from a domestic standpoint, but I also want some international exposure that's fairly safe but also yieldy. The PIMCO fund is emerging markets, but it tends to be a little bit more short-term. You're taking a little bit more risk, but they're doing it in a prudent manner. It's total return and, again, you're leveraging off their expertise."

Crane surmises that people are more concerned today with return of principal than return on principal. Here's a snapshot of the state of yields today. Let's hope that you're at least getting your principal back.

Recent yields on savings vehicles
Investment security *Average yield (%) per Bankrate surveys
Money market accounts 0.74*
Money market funds 2.38 (Crane 100 Money Fund Index) annualized 7-day yield
3-month CD 1.71*
6-month CD 1.86*
1-year CD 2.05*
5-year CD 2.93*
6-month HY CD 3.02*
1-year HY CD 3.39*
(TIP) 4.82
(WIP) Real return of 2.39% plus the local CPI adjustment
EABLX 7.28
PLMDX 3.96
Source: Bankrate.com unless noted. As of May 14, 2008
Bankrate.com's corrections policy -- Posted: May 19, 2008
 
 
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